trainS of hoPe: am­Bu­Lance trainS in timeS of con­fLict

Steam Railway (UK) - - Reviews - T: 01904 636874 W: www.nrm­friends.org.uk ISBN: 9780957678866

BY MIKE PEART • friendS of the na­tionaL raiL­way mu­Seum Shines a light on an over­looked and top­i­cal sub­ject One big ‘I think you’ll find…’ Ev­ery so of­ten, a rail­way book comes along that re­ally makes you won­der why its sub­ject hasn’t been cov­ered be­fore - and if it does a good job of fill­ing the gap, so much the better. Be­hind its strik­ing cover de­sign echo­ing the Red Cross flag, this one is a case in point, ex­plor­ing the sub­ject of am­bu­lance and hospi­tal trains - on which lit­tle ma­te­rial has pre­vi­ously been pub­lished, but which is par­tic­u­larly top­i­cal at this time of First World War cen­te­nar­ies. With the help of a sur­pris­ing num­ber of pho­to­graphs - most of pleas­ingly good qual­ity and re­pro­duced very well - to­gether with plans of coaches, the au­thor has pulled to­gether the his­tory of these trains from their ear­li­est use in mid-19th cen­tury con­flicts, through the First and Sec­ond world wars, to those used by the Bri­tish Army in post-war Ger­many. At just 64 pages, it’s fairly short yet quite thor­ough, although one rather ma­jor er­ror has crept in with the de­scrip­tion of the Amer­i­can Civil War (1861-65) as the ‘Amer­i­can War of In­de­pen­dence’ (ac­tu­ally 1775-83). Like the se­ries of lo­co­mo­tive his­to­ries also pub­lished by the Friends, which give vis­i­tors an in-depth look at Na­tional Col­lec­tion en­gines for as lit­tle as £10, this book is ex­cel­lent value at just £6.

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